Sunday, September 27, 2020

Sermon: “The Runaway Train”, Ezekiel 18:1-4, 25-32 (September 27, 2020)


Today’s reading from Ezekiel requires a bit of context to really understand it. Ezekiel was a prophet during the Babylonian exile in the early 6th century BCE. His prophecies primarily consist of explaining what the Israelites have done wrong, telling them what they need to do in order to get out of their predicament, and occasionally reminding them of God’s love (you know, so they don’t feel completely hopeless all the time). Chapter 18 addresses a common concern for the Israelites (and, as we remembered last week, for us, too): fairness. Apparently, God had overheard someone complaining that the exile was punishment for their parents’ sins. From this person’s perspective, God allowed the Babylonians to take over their homeland because the older generation had been faithless. Yet they, the 6th century equivalent of millennials, had taken no part in those sins. So why were they still stuck in exile?

Sunday, September 20, 2020

Sermon: “It’s Not (Supposed to Be) Fair”, Matthew 20:1-15 (September 20, 2020)


Are you ever surprised by how many scripture passages remind you of parental lessons from your childhood, or is it just me? It’s almost as if…our parents knew what they were talking about. Weird, huh? When I read this week’s passage, all I could hear was my mom’s voice saying, “You and your sister have different needs, so you get treated differently. It’s not about being fair; it’s about doing what’s best for each of you.” Interestingly, I remember being most incensed about this argument when my sister was allowed to get her ears pierced much earlier than I’d been allowed to, but I digress. The point is that, regardless of what my childish sense of justice perceived as fair, it was my parents’ job and prerogative to distribute resources (and ear piercings) based on what they determined each of us needed to survive and thrive. If that meant that one of us got a better “deal” than the other, well, that was their call. I think that most of us adults would agree that this is the right and proper way for such decisions to be made: not based on what’s objectively “fair”, but what the guardian believes is best.

Sunday, September 13, 2020

Sermon: "What Really Divides Us", Romans 14:1-6/Galatians 2:11-14 (September 13, 2020)


As some of you know, I performed my first wedding here as the pastor of Boone Memorial Presbyterian Church yesterday. It was a joyful occasion, of course, and I was reminded once again of the blessing that this calling to ministry can be, even in the midst of a pandemic. I’ve been meeting with the newlyweds over the past several months in order to plan the ceremony and talk about their future life together, plus my own third wedding anniversary is in less than a month, so I’ve spent a lot of time recently reflecting on about the experience of joining two lives to one another. I’ve also been puzzling over how on earth anyone makes it work.